CCONWAY, Ark. -- Sacramento State used a 21-5 run during a stretch of nearly 11 minutes in the second half to eventually defeat Central Arkansas, 71-68, in a non-conference men's basketball game Saturday evening at the Farris Center.
With the victory, the Hornets improved to 4-1, the team's best mark after five games since the 1999-00 season. In addition, Sacramento State has won its first two road games of the season for the first time since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
Tonight wasn't easy as the Hornets dug themselves an early hole, trailing, 18-6, just four an a half minutes into the game. Sacramento State would get no closer than four points of the Bear lead the rest of the half before heading into the halftime break down, 45-35.
That deficit increased to a game-high 14 points early in the second half after a dunk by LaQuentin Miles gave Central Arkansas a 49-35 lead. Both teams exchanged baskets the next three minutes before a jumper from Konner Veteto with 15:17 left cut the Bear lead to 55-44 with 15:17 to play. That jumper from Veteto began the 21-5 run that would see UCA go 1-for-9 from the field with three turnovers during the Sacramento State spurt.
Six different Hornets scored during the run, including six points from Julian Demalleville, and five each from Veteto and Dylan Garrity. A jumper from Mikh McKinney gave the Hornets their first lead of the game at 62-60 with 5:15 remaining. Sacramento State never trailed the rest of the way as Central Arkansas cut the deficit to one point on a pair of occasion, but the Hornets answered with points each time on the ensuing possession.
The Bears (1-3) pulled within one point for the last time at 69-68 on a three-pointer from Jarvis Garner with 28 seconds to play. After a timeout, McKinney was fouled and sunk both of his free throws with 17 seconds left. Central Arkansas had three cracks at a three-point attempt during the game's final nine seconds but each shot was off at the mark as the Hornets escaped with the victory.
After Central Arkansas scored 45 points on 60.0 percent shooting in the first half, the Hornet defense allowed just 23 Bear points on 31.0 percent shooting in the second half. For the game, both teams shot similar percentages from both the floor (SAC .448, UCA .458) and the three-point line (SAC .357, UCA .364), but the Hornets made eight more free throws. In fact, Sacramento State shot 70.0 percent (14-20) from the charity stripe while Central Arkansas went just 6-for-11. The Hornets also held a commanding 44-31 edge on the glass, including 21 offensive rebounds resulting in 20 second-chance points.
A pair of Hornets posted double-doubles in tonight's game, including Veteto's team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound center shot 7-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to account for his points. In addition, eight of his 11 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Swingman Joe Eberhard finished with 13 points (5-of-11 shooting), 10 rebounds and game highs in both steals (4) and minutes (37). The double-double was the second in the careers of both players in a Sacramento State uniform.
Joining Veteto and Eberhard with double figures in scoring was McKinney who dropped in 14 points in 33 minutes of play. The sophomore from Ohlone JC has now scored at least 13 points in every game this season, and is also the only Hornet to score in double figures in each contest. Forward John Dickson, who battled foul trouble throughout the evening, had eight points ending his run of four straight double-digit scoring games. Garrity had seven points, six rebounds and four assists, Demalleville added six points and Joey Quigley had four points, two rebounds and two assists.
For Central Arkansas, Jarvis Garner led the way with a game-high 21 points, including 5-of-7 from the three-point line. Jordan Harks had 18 points, and Miles had 10 as the trio of Garner, Harks and Miles combined for 49 of the Bears' 68 points.
Sacramento State will look to go 5-1 when the team returns home to face Dominican on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 7:05 p.m. That will mark the Hornets' final home tuneup before conference play as the team will play road games at Arizona State and San Jose State before the conference opener on Dec. 19.